Cover picture © Credit to: iStock/Lev_Levin
Cover picture © Credit to: iStock/Lev_Levin

Rakvere: a 13th-century castle in the middle of forests

2 minutes to read

Located close to a scenic Lahemaa National Park, Rakvere Castle attracts visitors with its impressive 13th-century castle ruins. It offers an authentic experience where you not only look at the castle but also feel in the 13th-century, walking under tall oaks in the middle of forests and admiring the ruins.

Ancient hillside ruins

A hill where Rakvere Castle stands was a site of earlier fortifications in Estonia, actually from the 5th and 6th centuries. The castle was built in the 13th century and was badly damaged in the year 1605. Nowadays, it is well-preserved, and visitors are most welcome there. In the summer, you can visit it during the concerts and events to enjoy a beautiful day and different amusements – dress-ups, archery, swords, etc. It offers an interesting and authentic experience, with one funny exception. The castle has a creepy torture chamber, which might need some explanations for the small visitors, containing skeletons, coffins and lights. Hence, it can be somehow frightening. The funny thing is that there has never been a torture chamber in the castle, so the only purpose is some entertainment.

Rakvere Castle
Rakvere Castle
Rakvere, 10145 Lääne-Viru maakond, Eesti
Picture © Credit to: iStock/mariannrea
Picture © Credit to: iStock/mariannrea

Touch an aurochs for good luck

Nearby the castle, there is a big aurochs statue that was built for Rakvere's 700th anniversary by a local sculptor. And don’t let the look fools you – it is not a bull, it is an aurochs. What is aurochs, you might ask? It was a wild ox that was extinct in the 17th century, very similar to the bull of this time. In the summer, this place is busy with children climbing to touch the aurochs. But be patient and wait for your turn to touch it since it will bring you good luck and the strength of an aurochs.

Take a walk in the oak grove

Rakvere makes you want to take a stroll in parks and forests. The best place for a walk is the oak and lime forest next to the castle. Admire the ancient oak trees, take a stroll around the memorial devoted to the locals who were deported to Siberia during the Soviet era and walk between the crosses of German military cemetery under the trees.

Picture © Credit to: iStock/fotoman-kharkov
Picture © Credit to: iStock/fotoman-kharkov

Enjoy picturesque and pure nature

Just a short ride from Rakvere is Lahemaa National Park. It is one of Europe’s most important forest conservation areas where you can see nature at its purest form. Picture-perfect seashores, bogs, endless forests and wild animals like bears, foxes and moose await you there.

Lahemaa National Park
Lahemaa National Park
Lahemaa National Park, Estonia
Picture © Credit to: iStock/Peter Virag
Picture © Credit to: iStock/Peter Virag

Rakvere is a perfect destination if you like old castle ruins and ancient woods. It’s a real 13th-century feel in the middle of forests.


Interesting activities close by


The author

Merje Aus

Merje Aus

Merje – proud Estonian, in love with everything her home country has to offer. Studying Estonian philology and working as a journalist.

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